May is Mental Health Awareness Month!

Posted by Pam Lucken on 5/7/2019 12:00:00 PM

May is Mental Health Awareness Month - tips for caring for your mental health!

We've found some great tips to share with our Berkshire family this month. We'll be reading these edited tips at announcements each morning, and sharing them in other ways throughout the building. 

1. Track gratitude and achievement with a journal. Include 3 things you were grateful for and something you were able to accomplish each day.

2. Look forward! Having something to look forward to can boost your overall happiness. Great weather and long days are coming – what are you looking forward to doing?

3. Work your strengths. Do something you're good at to build self-confidence, then tackle a tougher task.

4. Get a good night's sleep. Put away your screens at least 30 minutes before you go to bed. Studies show that middle school students need 9-9 ½ hours of sleep per night!

5. When facing something you aren’t looking forward to doing, break it up into smaller pieces. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

6. Spend some time being creative! Creative expression and overall well-being are linked.

7. Show some love to someone in your life. This could be your parents, your siblings, your friends. Close, quality relationships are key for a happy, healthy life.

8. Feeling anxious? Print out a coloring page and do some coloring for about 20 minutes to help you clear your mind. Pick a design that's geometric and a little complicated for the best effect.

9. Take time to laugh. Hang out with a funny friend, watch a comedy or check out cute videos online. Laughter helps reduce anxiety.

10. Go off the grid. If you have a phone, turn it off for a bit to disconnect and relax. Spend time doing something fun with someone face-to-face. Limit your interruptions from your devices.

11. Try to be optimistic. Focus on the positive as much as possible.

12. Dance whenever you can! Turn on your favorite song, but instead of just listening, dance! Dancing reduces levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), and increases endorphins (the body's "feel-good" chemicals).

13. Feeling stressed? Smile. It may not be the easiest thing to do, but smiling can help to lower your heart rate and calm you down.

14. Go ahead and yawn. Studies suggest that yawning helps cool the brain and improves alertness and mental efficiency.

15. Has something been bothering you? Let it all out…on paper. Writing about upsetting experiences can reduce symptoms of depression.

16. Spend some time with a furry friend. Time with animals lowers the stress hormone - cortisol, and boosts oxytocin - which stimulates feelings of happiness. If you don’t have a pet, hang out with a friend who does.

17. Take a look around. Often times people only explore on trips, but you may be surprised what cool things are in your own backyard.

18. Try preparing the night before for school the next day. Lay out your clothes, pack your backpack and think of anything else you might need. You'll save some time in the mornings and have a sense of control about the day ahead.

19. Practice forgiveness. People who forgive have better mental health and report being more satisfied with their lives.

20. "What appear to be calamities are often the sources of fortune." - Disraeli
Try to find the silver lining in something kind of stinky that happened recently.

21. Take 30 minutes to be outside in nature. Research shows that being in nature can increase energy levels, reduce depression and boost well-being.

22. Do your best to enjoy 15 minutes of sunshine, and apply sunscreen. Sunlight synthesizes Vitamin D, which experts believe is a mood elevator.

23. "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." -Albert Einstein
Try something outside of your comfort zone to make room for adventure and excitement in your life.

24. Send a thank you note - not for a material item, but to let someone know why you appreciate them. Written expressions of gratitude are linked to increased happiness.

25. Think of something in your life you want to improve, and figure out what you can do to take a step in the right direction.

Enjoy these tips we've put together to share with our Berkshire Community. Share them with your family! If you'd like to get more involved with planning activities for Berkshire students during Mental Health Awareness Month, please contact Pam Lucken - plucken@birmingham.k12.mi.us, or 248-203-4706.